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Bogs, fens, swamps and moist to wet woods; widespread across boreal forest north to tundra; more or less circumpolar; prefers fresh, upland forests.
Shinleaf has white, often green- or pink-veined flowers not unlike those of green wintergreen, but its leaf blades are broadly elliptic to oblong, 3 - 7 cm long, and mostly longer than their stalks. Wintergreens grow best in their natural habitat. They produce very few feeding roots along their spreading underground stems, and these grow in association with special fungi. Transplanting destroys the delicate roots, and the garden environment is unlikely to have the same fungi that are found in the forest.